WILDCRAFTED HERBAL PRODUCTS
Your Natural Skin & Personal Care Solution
Natural Skin Care Newsletter: January 2010 Issue
HAPPY NEW YEAR
Welcome to 2010 and the January Issue of the Natural Skin Care Newsletter. As usual we have included several articles, news and information on natural skincare and alternative health. Kitty makes her usual contribution.
Susan and I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2010. It constantly amazes us just how quickly time seems to be passing; wasn't it just a little while ago when everyone (well, almost) was worried about the millennium bug? Well, that was 10 years ago, back in 1999...
This year the Newsletter will also include some information for our patients as well as our Wildcrafted customers and we hope that this will ad a new dimension and interest to the Newsletter.
We hope you'll enjoy this issue, and as always invite you to send us feedback and offer suggestions of topics you would like to see us cover.
Skin Care: a different perspective
(by Danny & Susan Siegenthaler)
Western Herbal Medicine
(by Danny & Susan Siegenthaler)
Exploding the Vitamin Myth
(by Dr. W.D. Raymont)
About An Essential Oil of Interest: Angelica (Angelica sinensis) (Dong-Quai)
(by Danny & Susan Siegenthaler)
Nature's Pantry: Chemists Shed Light On Health Benefits Of Garlic
(by Susan & Danny Siegenthaler)
Kitty's Corner - Famous Cat Quotes
(by Kitty the Cat)
Newsletter - January 2010
For some time now, more and more people have started to change their purchase habits to choosing natural and/or organic skin care products. Why? Because information in the media has alerted consumers about the potential dangers they were exposing themselves to by buying skin and personal care products containing chemicals, which had been showed to be potentially dangerous.
Changes in the beauty industry
As consumers started to demand natural skin care products in preference to non-natural products, companies scrambled to include at least one or two natural ingredients and then advertised these products promoting the content of the natural ingredients. However, unfortunately they did not remove the dangerous ones (at least many of the companies did not) and simply implied that the natural ingredient made their product natural.
Some companies do make products that are in fact 100% natural and some are even certified organic. The unfortunate thing is however, that just because a product contains natural/organic ingredients, does not mean it actually works, nor does it guarantee that there are not synthetic or artificial ingredients in the products. The problem is that to obtain ‘Certified Organic’ status for a product, only 95% of the ingredients need to be certified organic. The other 5% may be synthetic preservatives, emulsifiers or any other potentially harmful non-natural chemical.
Whether or not a product is certified organic or not, makes little difference to its effectiveness. This is because the effectiveness of a product is determined by the quantity of the active ingredients.
Herbal extracts and essential oils have long been recognised as having medicinal properties and actions. However, they only have these actions if present in high enough concentrations. Two or three drops of Lavender oil will make a product smell lovely, but that amount of lavender in 100ml of product base, will not have any significant effect on the skin or its underlying tissues. The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia provides guidelines as to what constitutes a therapeutic dose for a herb or essential oil in order for it to be effective in treating a given health problem.
Effective vs. 'Look good' Products
So let’s look at what it takes to make a product effective.
Firstly, it needs to be established what the product is supposed to do. If it’s supposed to nourish the skin, promote blood circulation in the local area and reduce redness, then the ingredients that need to be used must address these needs. In other words, herbs or essential oils that are indicated and have medicinal properties which address these problems must be chosen.
Secondly, in order for herbs and/or essential oils to meet these needs, they need to be present in specific quantities. In addition, there is probably also a need for several herbs to be present. Herbal skin care products can include one or more herbs, depending on the desired action the cream or lotion is intended to have. Usually, a product will however include several herbs and/or essential oils, as the combination of herbs will produce synergistic effects. (Synergistic effects are effects caused by combining two or more herbs that in combination produce actions that none of the herbs have individually; or multiply their effects.)
Thirdly, it takes considerable depth of knowledge of herbal medicine to be able to formulate effective herbal skin care products. It is not a matter of throwing a bunch of herbal extracts into a pot, adding a base cream, stir and bingo; an effective product results.
For example, using the same two herbs, but at different ratios to each other, will result in different therapeutic effects, yet the only thing that has changed is the quantities used.
It’s like making a salad. Using the same 5 or 6 ingredients, but in different quantities, will make for a different salad. Just think about adding halve a clove of Garlic compared to two cloves of Garlic – there will be a difference in taste. The same goes for the salad sauce. Using the same ingredients but in different quantities will make for salad sauces with different textures and flavours.
Unfortunately, most people buy their skin care products based on the packaging, the brand name and the smell of a product. None of these things, however, effect on the skin. Herbal skin care products on the other hand tend to be packaged in simple, useful packaging, they probably do smell very nice, but the brands are usually not as well know.
Wildcrafted Herbal Products for example has customers the world over, but you never see their name in a fashion magazine, TV or anywhere else really. Their products are true therapeutic herbal products, they work, have done so for over 25 years and the people in the know buy them for exactly those reasons.
Therapeutic Herbal Skin Care Products
The ‘secret’ is that true herbal skin care products have been formulated to have specific healing effects on the skin. We know that the absorption of essential oils via the skin can affect the organs inside our body – treatment from the outside in, if you like. Footbaths are well known therapeutic tools to treat a range of systemic diseases. Maurice Mességué, the well-known French herbalist, used to use hand- and footbaths almost exclusively to treat his patients. Therefore, there is nothing new or ‘magical’ about using herbal medicine in the form of creams, lotions and the like.
Good quality herbal skin and body care products are based on these principles, and contain therapeutic levels of medicinal herbs to treat the skin and positively affects its functions.
If you want your skin care products to actually do some good, than think about choosing herbal skin care products next time you’re shopping.
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What is herbal medicine?
Herbal medicine is an ancient system of medicine that utilises seeds, berries, roots, leaves, bark, or flowers of plants. Herbal medicine is sometimes referred to as phytomedicine or botanical medicine.
Unlike orthodox (western/modern) medicine, herbal medicine is not just based in science, but has a strong component of art. It balances the art & science of medicine.
The Skills of herbalists have developed long before the science-based machines that go ‘beep’, and the skills of the doctor had to be far greater than simply looking at the blood test results from the pathology lab.
The herbalist has to be able to look at the physical, mental and spiritual health of the patient to interpret their state of health. That is not to say that modern day herbalists do not use technology. Of course they do, they use auroscopes, stethoscopes, and a variety of other technology, which is commonly used by a GP (orthodox general practitioner or MD – medical doctor).
As a doctor of Chinese medicine I am often looking at X-rays, blood test results and other test results that patients present to me. I also send patients for specific tests. After all, why not use technology if it can be of assistance in the treatment of my patient?
As a scientist, I also like to use these types of tests to get scientific validation that my treatments are working – why not, after all if I can actually measure the success of treatment why not do so.
In short, herbal medicine is a valid, safe and effective system of medicine that combines the art and science of medicine and uses plant-based materials to treat in individual’s health problems.
What is the philosophy behind herbal medicine?
The basic principle behind herbal medicine is that your herbalist will assess you as a person and not a disease.
This simple statement has much more depth to it than it appears on the surface, because a patient has a disease, but is not that disease. That means the patient has developed a system wide imbalance that is reflected physically and/or mentally in the display of certain symptoms and attitudes.
The philosophical approach by the physician is to look at the patient as a person and consider the health issue in context of that individual.
For example, a patient may present with chronic headaches. Now the orthodox approach would be to do a series of tests to rule out any major pathologies and if there are no major diseases at work, such as tumours for example, the prescription will simply be one of pain relief – Aspirin, or a similar type of pharmaceutical drug.
A herbalist will assess a patient very differently. Yes, they will rule out any major or life threatening diseases also, but once these have been ruled out, the approach differs enormously.
Their approach will include a complete physical assessment of the body; it’s alignment, posture, musculo-skeletal functionality and inspect any old physical injuries, etc. They will assess an individual’s stress levels, work and family pressures and so on. A herbalist will also look at their patient’s diet, life style and levels of exercise. In addition they will ask questions about seemingly unrelated issues such as niggling signs and symptoms that at first do not seem relevant.
This type of consultation will provide the physician with an over-all picture of the person in front of them – not the disease, but the person. The individual.
The idea of this is that in herbal medicine, the herbal mixtures are individually formulated specifically for that person with the health issue(s). It’s specific, individual and personalized.
In short, an herbalist will ‘paint a health picture’ of you and employ herbal medicine to specifically treat you as an individual with a health problem.
What herbal medicine can treat and how safe and effective is it?
What can herbal medicine be used for?
Herbal medicine can be used in one of three ways:
Up until about 200 years ago, herbal extracts, teas, baths, etc., were the primary forms of treatment available to doctors. In fact Pedanius Dioscorides an ancient Greek physician, pharmacologist and botanist from Anazarbus, Cilicia, Asia Minor, wrote ‘the bible’ on herbs and early medicinal substances extracted from plants in the first century AD. To this day, pharmaceutical companies still use herbal medicines in their drugs (they just don’t advertise that fact). He described over 600 medicinal plants, their use and actions with respect to treating diseases.
A skilled herbalist is able to use medicinal plants to treat any disease known to man. Granted, some diseases such as cancer for example, are not treated easily, but are treatable with herbs. The limit is not the limitations of herbs, but the skill of the physician. And, let’s face it – that’s the same for any system of medicine.
In short, herbal medicine has been used since the dawn of man and is still as effective today as it ever was in treating virtually any disease safely and effectively.
What forms does herbal medicine come in?
Herbal medicines come in several forms of administration. These include:
Once a herbalist has identified the underlying reasons for the manifestation of the disease a patient is afflicted by and has worked out the herbal mixture required to address this disorder, it is then necessary to establish the best way of administering the herbal medicines.
One would logically think that taking the herbs in their liquid or pill form might be the best and easiest way to take the medicine, however, often it may not be.
Without getting into the details and chemistry of how active constituents of medicinal herbs are extracted, let’s have a quick look at the ways in which herbs may be used.
Extracts and tinctures are generally made by using a certain amount of the dried or fresh herb and than mixing this with alcohol. The alcohol dissolves most of the plant’s constituents and suspends them in the alcohol. This is what is basically known as a tincture.
Alcohol will extract almost all the ingredients contained in the plant material. Unlike alcohol, water will extract fewer of the ingredients. Water is a universal solvent and many of the substances contained in herbs will dissolve into the water. However, alkaloids and fats may not. If some of the alkaloids are not wanted, then a tea or sits bath (water extraction) may be preferable.
Poultices are used externally. They are prepared by crushing the plant, usually the fresh plant or parts thereof, mixing it with a base cream, honey, yoghurt or similar substance, which is then applied directly to a specific part of the body. This type of treatment is particularly effective when treating wounds, bruising, joint and bone injuries, local infections, localized skin disorders, gangrene, etc. But can also be used to treat some chronic internal diseases of organs.
In short, there are different horses for courses. In other words, the type of application will depend on the specific needs of the individual patient and their particular type of disease. For example it might not be wise to treat a patient who suffers from alcoholism and liver cirrhosis with an alcohol-based herbal mixture…
Is herbal medicine a safe form of treatment?
Herbal medicine in the hands of a qualified, experienced herbalist is very safe and has minimal risk of side effects. However, just because herbs are natural does not automatically make them safe. Remember, Arsenic is natural and deadly.
Opium from the Poppy flower is highly addictive, lead is poisonous and so are most other heavy metals, yet they are all 100% natural substances. So don’t be fooled – natural is not necessarily harmless.
Having said that, herbal medicine is one of the safest forms of medicine and is very unlikely to cause harm if used as prescribed by a qualified herbalist.
Unlike pharmaceutical drugs, which are mainly synthetic, man-made substances, herbs are easily assimilated in our bodies. They are also easily eliminated and do not usually accumulate. A herbalist will also frequently change the herbs in a patient’s mix as their health picture changes.
In short, herbal medicine, if prescribed by a qualified and experienced herbalist, is one of the safest forms of treatment, causing few, if any, side effects.
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Dr. Warwick D. Raymont, Ph.D., D.Sc., Grad.Dip.Tech.Comm., M.A.C.S., M.N.Y.A.S., D.G., O.I.A.
Why should the world’s nutritional resources be monopolised by the affluent few?
This is a question that many scientists, nutritionists and conservationists are beginning to ask.
More and more people in Australia and, indeed, the western world are taking vast amounts of vitamins, most of which finds its way into the nation’s sewers with alarming speed. Few of these health conscious individuals realise that vitamin macrodoses may be more of a health hazard than taking no vitamin supplements at all!
Recent studies in Finland, for example, have revealed that people taking just 20mg of beta-carotene as a daily supplement expose themselves to a greater risk of bowel cancer than taking none at all. Vitamin A has long been known as a teratogen or a substance that may cause birth defects. Supplementation by unbalanced excesses of the B-group vitamins can actually lead to a B-group vitamin deficiency.
Vitamin C supplements, on their own, need to be taken almost hourly and in extremely large amounts to maintain a high serum ascorbate (blood vitamin C) level while vitamin E can only be taken up into the human body with any efficiency if carried by a fat or oil. Indeed, a fat-free diet can often contribute to a Vitamin E deficiency!
These examples, while in themselves true, are often used by some of the medical profession as evidence that vitamin supplementation is unnecessary. “You obtain all the vitamins you need in your normal diet!” is the catch-cry. Unfortunately, this is about as far from the truth as is the counsel from the other extreme that large quantities (macrodoses) of vitamin supplements are beneficial to one’s health. What few people realise is that the truth does not even lie somewhere between these two extremes!
Synergy - The Natural Answer
The answers to these paradoxical extremes lie in Nature. However, these natural answers are only just beginning to be recognised.
The answer is synergy and the microdose - or, simply, the synergistically balanced microdose.
A commonly understood example of this is White Willow (Salix alba) bark and aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid). Since time immemorial, an infusion (tea) made from White Willow bark has been used as a traditional remedy for pain, fever and inflammation. The main active ingredient of this tea was identified, by chemists, as acetylsalicylic acid, synthesised and sold as aspirin.
Unfortunately, it was later found that aspirin could cause a number of undesirable side-effects including gastric irritation and bleeding, gastrointestinal ulceration and haemmorrhage. And yet, the White Willow bark tea had no such effect. Why? The answer was found in that while the normal dose of aspirin was 600mg, as little as 10mg of aspirin in the White Willow bark tea was just as effective but without any of the undesirable side effects. This, however, posed an even greater question!
Quite naturally, many claimed that “natural” aspirin was obviously sixty times as effective as synthetic but, unfortunately, this was simply not the case. The truth, which took quite some time to emerge, was that the 10mg of “natural” aspirin was synergistically balanced with a number of other ingredients occurring naturally in the willow bark. These, in the true nature of synergy, all worked together to make the combined effect many times greater than the sum of the individual effects of each. That is the true meaning of synergy.
Synergy and synergistic balance are also essential with the B-group vitamins. In the first case, a synergistic balance is required to ensure bio-availability - how accessible each individual vitamin and the combination of vitamins is. The same balance effects bio-uptake - how efficiently the body is able to absorb these vitamins. Finally, synergistic balance is essential for bio-retention - how long the body is able to keep these vitamins before excreting them and this is probably the most important effect, or benefit, of synergistic balance with B-group vitamins.
The Macrodose -v- the Synergistically Balanced Microdose
It needs just one of the many B-group vitamins to be present in significant excess for the body to excrete them all quite rapidly. They appear in the urine in as little as thirty minutes and can be completely excreted from the body in as little as three to five hours! Classical evidence of this excretion is the appearance of vitamin B-2 (riboflavine) with its typical yellow discoloration of the urine and its readily identifiable odour. This excretion can, quite paradoxically, cause a B-group vitamin deficiency in a person taking B-group vitamin macrodoses and leave the person much worse off than having taken no vitamin supplementation whatsoever!
However, if the B-group vitamins are synergistically balanced one with another, then bio-uptake is very high and bio-retention for a day or even three is not uncommon. In this manner, a synergistically balanced microdose can provide complete B-group vitamin supplementation which is retained by the body and not readily excreted.
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) suffers a similar fate. When a vitamin C macrodose is taken (hundreds or even thousands of milligrams per dose), it also appears in the urine within thirty minutes and is, as the B-group vitamins, excreted in just a few hours. The serum ascorbate (blood vitamin C) levels fluctuate dramatically as a result, seldom remaining for more than a brief time at the normal maximum of one hundred milligrams per litre.
However, when vitamin C is taken naturally (as in eating oranges), the serum ascorbate levels easily reach their maximum and remain there often for more than a full day! The reason for this is that the ascorbic acid (vitamin C) in the oranges is synergistically balanced with bioflavonoids and proanthocyanidins which ensure bio-uptake and bio-retention even in intracellular spaces! Furthermore, this is achieved with only a small fraction of the amount of vitamin C that many people take as a matter of course, further evidence of the benefit and efficacy of the synergistically balanced microdose..
The mineral calcium is another perfect example of synergistic balance. Many calcium supplements are little more than blackboard chalk and very little, if any, of that calcium ever finds its way into the bones of people in need. Calcium in this form has little, if any, significant bio-availability, and even that exhibits little bio-uptake and bio-retention is barely measurable. However, if calcium is in a human bio-available form, such as the protein-bound amino acid chelate, the bio-availability and bio-uptake are extremely high, almost complete. Then if that calcium is synergistically balanced with vitamin B-12 (cyanocobalamin) and vitamin B9 (folic acid or folate), then there is not only almost complete bio-retention, but also bio-uptake into the bones, the very place that calcium is needed! It has been reported in reputable journals that as little as ten milligrams of calcium in this form, when synergistically balanced with vitamin B-12 and folate, can result in as much calcium uptake into the bones as a full litre of full cream milk!
The world’s nutritional resources
There can be no doubt that the world’s nutritional resources are limited. There can be no justification for the world’s limited nutritional resources being monopolised by the affluent few by their wasteful, unretained macrodoses.
In contrast, the world’s nutritional resources would provide the entire population of the world with sufficient nutritional supplementation well into the twenty-first century if all limited themselves to the synergistically balanced microdose - the lesson that has been lying in Nature since the beginning of time - the lesson that has been patiently waiting for mankind to learn as the third millennium approaches.
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Source: ScienceDaily (Jan. 31, 2009) — A Queen's-led team has discovered the reason why garlic is so good for us.
Researchers have widely believed that the organic compound, allicin – which gives garlic its aroma and flavour – acts as the world's most powerful antioxidant. But until now it hasn't been clear how allicin works, or how it stacks up compared to more common antioxidants such as Vitamin E and coenzyme Q10, which stop the damaging effects of radicals.
"We didn't understand how garlic could contain such an efficient antioxidant, since it didn't have a substantial amount of the types of compounds usually responsible for high antioxidant activity in plants, such as the flavanoids found in green tea or grapes," says Chemistry professor Derek Pratt, who led the study. "If allicin was indeed responsible for this activity in garlic, we wanted to find out how it worked."
The research team questioned the ability of allicin to trap damaging radicals so effectively, and considered the possibility that a decomposition product of allicin may instead be responsible. Through experiments with synthetically-produced allicin, they found that an acid produced when the compound decomposes rapidly reacts with radicals.
Their findings are published in the January 2009 issue of the international chemistry journal Angewandte Chemie.
"Basically the allicin compound has to decompose in order to generate a potent antioxidant," explains Dr. Pratt, who is Canada Research Chair in Free Radical Chemistry. "The reaction between the sulfenic acid and radicals is as fast as it can get, limited only by the time it takes for the two molecules to come into contact. No one has ever seen compounds, natural or synthetic, react this quickly as antioxidants."
The researcher is confident that a link exists between the reactivity of the sulfenic acid and the medicinal benefits of garlic. "While garlic has been used as a herbal medicine for centuries and there are many garlic supplements on the market, until now there has been no convincing explanation as to why garlic is beneficial," says Dr. Pratt. "I think we have taken the first step in uncovering a fundamental chemical mechanism which may explain garlic's medicinal benefits."
Along with onions, leeks and shallots, garlic is a species in the family Alliaceae. All of these other plants contain a compound that is very similar to allicin, but they do not have the same medicinal properties. Dr. Pratt and his colleagues believe that this is due to a slower rate of decomposition of the allicin analogs in the onions, leaks and shallots, which leads to a lower level of sulfenic acid available to react as antioxidants with radicals.
The study was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Ontario Ministry of Innovation. Other members of the research team are Queen's Chemistry post-doctoral researcher Vipraja Vaidya and Keith Ingold, from the National Research Council of Canada.
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Uses in Natural Skin Care Products:
Uses in Traditional Medicine and Aromatherapy:
Angelica is described as a herb with "an affinity for the female constitution". It is good for treating anemia and weak glands, regulating monthly periods, correcting hot flashes and vaginal spasms (PMS), and assisting women through the difficult transition of menopause. It is never given to women during pregnancy.
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Susan and I hope you've enjoyed the articles and information provided in our Newsletter and look forward to any comments and feedback you may have. We'd also like to encourage all of you to suggest topics you would like to see us cover.
In good health
Danny & Susan Siegenthaler
© Copyright: Wildcrafted Herbal Products, 2010
Hello to you all, and a hearty Miau.
I hope you found last month's article interesting and helpful.
This month we'll look at:
Famous Cat Quotes.
There is no snooze button on a cat who wants breakfast. - Unknown
Thousands of years ago, cats were worshipped as gods. Cats have never forgotten this. - Anonymous
Cats are smarter than dogs. You can't get eight cats to pull a sled through snow. - Jeff Valdez
In a cat's eye, all things belong to cats. - English proverb
As every cat owner knows, nobody owns a cat. - Ellen Perry Berkeley
One cat just leads to another. - Ernest Hemingway
Dogs come when they're called; cats take a message and get back to you later. - Mary Bly
Cats are rather delicate creatures and they are subject to a good many ailments, but I never heard of one who suffered from insomnia. - Joseph Wood Krutch
People that hate cats, will come back as mice in their next life. - Faith Resnick
There are many intelligent species in the universe. They are all owned by cats. - Anonymous
I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior. - Hippolyte Taine
There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats. - Albert Schweitzer
The cat has too much spirit to have no heart. - Ernest Menaul
Dogs believe they are human. Cats believe they are God. - Unknown
Time spent with cats is never wasted. - Colette
Some people say that cats are sneaky, evil, and cruel. True, and they have many other fine qualities as well. - Missy Dizick
You will always be lucky if you know how to make friends with strange cats. - Colonial American proverb
Cats seem to go on the principle that it never does any harm to ask for what you want. - Joseph Wood Krutch
Cats aren't clean, they're just covered with cat spit. - John S. Nichols
For now, Miau from me, until next month.
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You can contact Eagles Nest Wildlife Hospital Inc.
Harry Kunz & Karin Traub
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Why You Should Choose
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Natural Skin Care Products - NEWS
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Give your skin an advantage by using natural organic skin care products that nourish, protect and pamper your skin - naturally.
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Cleansing, toning and moisturising the skin is part of any good skin care regime.
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Wildcrafted Herbal Products make Toners specific for your skin type. They are designed to tone and invigorate the skin before using your moisturiser.
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Wildcrafted's Moisturisers nourish, hydrate and help to repair your skin.
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The Age Defying Essence is part of our Anti-aging System. Use it separately, or as part of a whole systematic approach to aid in preventing premature aging of your skin.
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